High-Index Lenses: Thin & Light, Perfect For Daily Use

Should You Choose High-Index Lenses?

If you have to wear glasses on a daily basis, then high-index lenses being thin and lightweight will not only be more comfortable but will also compliment your investment in a stylish frames. Why would you buy a beautiful frame only to put thick heavy lenses in it?

What Are High-Index Lenses?

High-index lenses are made from plastics which refract (bend) light more than ordinary materials, meaning they need less material to create the same prescription. You may hear your optometrist or optical dispenser talk about 1.6 or 1.74 or even 1.59 (polycarbonate), in general the higher the number or refractive index, the thinner the lens. As they use less material the lenses are not only thinner but usually lighter, making them more comfortable for daily use. These types of plastics are often used in areas like fibre optic cables or, in the case of polycarbonate, in the windows of planes or the visors on the helmets of fighter pilots.

The most commonly prescription lens material (1.5 or CR39), even in moderate powers, can be thick and bulky and can make the individual wearer self-conscious of their appearance. High-index lenses are often also aspheric, a lens design that not only improves the appearance of the lenses and the wearer but also gives better optics right to the edge of the frame, providing versatility in the choice of frame styles even for those with stronger prescriptions.

Differences Between High-Index And Regular Lenses

Here are some of the main differences between the high index and regular lenses:

  • Thickness
  • Weight
  • UV protection
  • Price

The thickness of a lens affects not only style and comfort but frame choice as well. Spherical 1.5 index lenses can distort your facial appearance and may be problematic when fitted to your chosen frame style. The thickest section of the lens is the outer edge which means the frame you chose must be able to disguise the lens at this outer edge. Conversely, if thin, metal frame is chosen but the lenses are thick the overall appearance of the glasses may be odd.

Since high-index lenses require less material, they are lighter in weight than regular lenses made from materials such as glass or 1.5 plastic.

High index plastic materials have an added benefit of cutting 100% of UV rays, making them almost essential in Australia and New Zealand, where the UV rating is high. 

High-index lenses are technologically advanced so it's no surprise they cost a little more than basic lenses. However, when you consider that the average pair of glasses is worn every day for two to three years, the cost of even very premium lenses is less than a dollar a day, without considering health fund rebates etc.. The extra benefits that high-index lenses offer makes cost a genuine matter of perspective.

  • High index lenses

Benefits Of High-Index Lenses

There are several important benefits of high-index lenses:

  • Your vision is corrected while wearing glasses made with light and thin materials for greater comfort
  • Aspheric high index lenses reduce facial distortion of eye distortion and the vision is clearer right to the edge of the frame
  • Offer 100% UV protection for your eyes
  • High-index lenses mostly include scratch-resistant anti-reflection coating
  • High index lenses are affordable, even more so with health insurance rebates

Who Needs High Index Lenses?

Choosing the correct high-index lens is not as complicated as some might imagine. Nowadays there are a variety of high-performance lens options.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to buy high index lenses for yourself or a loved one:

  • Is there anytime that you prefer a thicker heavier lens over a thinner lighter one?
  • What is your prescription? Lenses for short-sightedness are thicker on the edge, while lenses for long-sightedness are thicker in the centre. In even moderate prescriptions a high-index lens will ensure it isn’t too thick
  • Are you wearing glasses for the majority of the day and want a lighter, more comfortable pair of glasses? High index will be suitable
  • Do you want built in UV protection?
  • Does your job require you to meet a lot of people and be social? Being able to make eye contact and have people see your eyes and face clearly and without distortion might be an important part of your job

For more information on which high-index lens is for you and where to find frames to fit them, contact your optometrist or optical dispenser..

Need high-power vision correction?

Ask your optometrist about thin and light high-index lenses today

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